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Further reduction in lead exposure in women in general populations in Japan in the 1990s, and comparison with levels in east and south-east Asia



Further reduction in lead exposure in women in general populations in Japan in the 1990s, and comparison with levels in east and south-east Asia



International Archives of Occupational & Environmental Health 73(2): 91-97



Objective: The objective of the study was to elucidate the current level of environmental lead (Pb) exposure of women in general population in Japan, where the use of organic Pb in automobile gasoline was phased out from 1973 to reach a zero level early in the 1980s. Methods: A survey was conducted in 27 sites throughout Japan from 1991 to 1997. Five hundred and eighty-eight non-smoking women from the sites offered 24-h food duplicate, peripheral blood, and spot urine samples. Pb in food duplicates (Pb-F), blood (Pb-B), and urine (Pb-U) were analyzed by inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry. The results of Pb-F and Pb-B were compared with observations from a study conducted from 1977 to 1981 on 339 women at the same sites. Log-normal distribution was assumed for the evaluation of the results. Results: Geometric means (GMs) of Pb-F, Pb-B, and Pb-U in the 1991-1997 study were 9.0 mug/day, 20.2 mug/l, and 2.18 mug/g creatinine, respectively. The values for Pb-F and Pb-B were substantially lower than the values (32.8 mug/day for Pb-F and 31.7 mug/l for Pb-B) obtained in the 1977-1981 study, which were already low when compared internationally. Cd-U values in the period from 1991 to 1997 also appeared to be among the lowest in the world. Analysis for time-dependent changes in Pb-U was, however, not possible at the time of this study because no values were available for the period from 1977 to 1981. Conclusions: Substantial reductions from 1977-1981 levels in environmental Pb exposure were observed among the study populations in Japan. Current exposure levels appear to be lower than those in other parts of Asia, the USA, and Europe.

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Accession: 010691741

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PMID: 10741506

DOI: 10.1007/s004200050013


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